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May 21, 2006

Pro-Test Flyering Rattles SPEAK

Pro-Test were out on Cornmarket Street yesterday handing out flyers to let people know about our two upcoming events - our public meeting on Monday 22 May at the Town Hall, and our next march on Saturday 3 June.

Reactions from the public were overwhelmingly positive. So many people initially walked past, then did a double-take -- "did you say in support of animal testing?" -- and turned around to take a leaflet. Many congratulated us for our stand, saying, "yes, I'm Pro-Test" or shaking our hands. Many said that they were glad to hear the other side of the argument for a change, rather than just hearing the anti-vivisectionists shouting into a vacuum.

We can't claim to have universal support, of course - there's still a long way to go in convincing people of the evidence and arguments after years of one-sided 'debate'. One woman handed me her flyer back. "No, I'm not Pro-Test," she stated. I pointed out she was wearing a red ribbon (a badge of support for the Terrence Higgins Trust, Britain's leading HIV-AIDS charity), and asked how she expected a cure to be found without research and testing. Unfortunately, I didn't get an answer. I guess it's easy to make the simple gestures - like buying a red ribbon - but harder to follow through with the harder choices.

Of course, not everyone was happy to see us -- SPEAK were positively rattled by our arrival. At one point, as I stood in the rain, five of them confronted me, jeering slogans and tearing up my leaflets. "Get a proper job!" one of them yelled. Not exactly a robust argument in favour of banning animal testing.

But SPEAK were so rattled that, after it stopped raining, they came back to hand out their own flyers and shout slogans through a megaphone. Sadly for them, their bully-boy tactics impressed no one. Their behaviour continued to be aggressive, coming right up to us to hand out their material and yelling - so aggressive that the police had to intervene a number of times. And when a member of the public berated SPEAK for their behaviour, three SPEAK activists began yelling at the man, following him down the street - prompting another intervention from the police to ensure the man's safety. At this, the public had had enough -- in addition to continued vocal support, several bystanders grabbed some of our flyers and started handing them out themselves.

It was a fine day, despite the weather -- just to see more and more people standing up for science, rationality and progress.

posted by Lee at 9:07 PM  

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This is blog is where you can find out information about the activities of the pro-animal testing campaign group, Pro-Test, and links to media coverage.

Previous

Corpus Christi, St John's and Wadham College JCRs are Pro-Test!
Pro-Test Gearing-Up for Public Meeting
See you on 3 June, Tony?
Pro-Test blog changing address
GSK update
Pro-Test in Solidarity with GSK Shareholders
Pro-Test to March Again
New College JCR Stands up for Science
Pro-Test Takes on SPEAK in Isis debate
Oxford Union: "This House WOULD Test On Animals"

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